Lake Minnetonka Nautical Archaeology 1 Project Report
Shipwrecks are not commodities – contrary to popular opinion. Every artifact, be it a shipwreck, solitary anchor, or bottle tells a story. Removing or otherwise disturbing artifacts can obliterate that story. Nautical archaeological sites – wrecks – and maritime archaeological sites – piers and other objects – are finite and significant submerged cultural resources – otherwise known as underwater archaeological sites. Nautical, maritime, underwater, maritime terrestrial – MHM deals with all of these types of sites throughout the State of Minnesota. MHM's mission is to document, conserve, preserve, and when necessary, excavate these finite cultural resources where the welfare of the artifact is paramount. MHM is concerned with protecting our underwater and maritime sites – our shared Maritime History – for their own benefit in order for all Minnesotans to gain the knowledge that can be obtained through their study. MHM's study of wrecks does not include the removal of artifacts or damaging the sites in any way. MHM does not raise wrecks or 'hunt' for 'treasure'. Submerged archaeological sites in Minnesota are subject to the same State statues as terrestrial sites: the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act (1963), Minnesota Historic Sites Act (1965), the Minnesota Historic District Act (1971), and the Minnesota Private Cemeteries Act (1976) if human remains are associated with a submerged site. Further, the case of State v. Bollenbach (1954) and the Federal Abandoned Shipwrecks Act of 1987 provide additional jurisdictional considerations when determining State oversight and "ownership" of resources defined by law as archaeological sites. Therefore, just like terrestrial archaeologists working for the State or with contract firms, underwater archaeologists are required to have the necessary education, appropriate credentials, and hold valid licenses from the Minnesota Office of the State Archaeologist.
This project was made possible by a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant, part of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
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